Three shows in three days: Asobi Seksu, Prince, The Muffs

Asobi Seksu at The Satellite (May 28, 2011)

I don’t get out much, but when I do, it counts. On Saturday night, Asobi Seksu came back to town. You might recall the interview I did a while back… After catching the band at a larger venue like The Troubadour, I was excited to see them at a dive such as The Satellite (ex-Spaceland). On one hand, the vibe was a lot less formal and way more casual, which I prefer. On the other, the sound totally sucked when the first song kicked in! I’m no audiophile and usually don’t even notice stuff like that, but a bitchin’ song like Trails absolutely requires the soaring vocals to balance out the grinding guitars. Fortunately, the mix got worked out sooner than later, and the band ripped through another mind-bending set of their ultra heavy, super dreamy psychedelic rock. They seemed to throw in some more really old stuff during this visit, which was very cool.

Prince at The Form (May 30, 2011)

Next up was Prince, who was finishing up his “21 Night Stand” of  Los Angeles, and this was actually the third show of his visit that I attended. There are only a handful of cases in which I binged on music like this. After being blown away by the Repeater tour when I was in college, every time Fugazi played multiple nights in L.A. I’d attend them all because they’d tweak songs in each performance, creating massively different sets. In total contrast, The Ramones would play the same songs the same way every time, but they did it perfectly and I wouldn’t miss a show of theirs for three years or so after high school. And when the reunited Descendents played a string of shows at the Whisky, I had to catch three of the nights because I didn’t know if I’d ever see them again. Prince… Well, this will require a separate post. Let’s just say no one has mastered or mixed funk, R&B, soul, jazz, and psychedelic rock like the Purple Yoda. And like The Ramones, he has created his own style of music. Like The Descendents, he has spawned, inspired, and even produced an entire scene of related bands. And like Fugazi, he plays each concert differently. Also like Fugazi, he clamped down on ticket prices during this stint… Twice I got killer seats for only 25 bucks including service charges!

The three-day, three-show weekend ended in Westwood. When I went to college, I used to skateboard to Rhino Records all the time. I bought a ton of vinyl there, and saw a ton of cool musicians and bands there, too. Once I introduced myself to Mike Watt and then totally fanned out while he was perusing at the wall of used cassettes. Then he asked me to follow him to his van, where he handed me a fIREHOSE 7″ single and signed it for me. They also had free in-stores often, and it’s the first place where I saw Peg-Boy as well as The Hard-Ons. (Of course you rock out to Live at Rhino by The Angry Samoans on cassette regularly and recall Nirvana’s Rhino show on Youtube as well, right? ) So it sucks that the shop is gone, but it’s rad that a pop-up store is open for a couple of weeks, selling a bunch of stuff for charity and booking cool shows as well. I caught The Muffs at The Satellite not too long ago, and their ultra-melodic, post-grunge, pre-riot grrl, fully punk version of girl-group era pop was excellent. This show was shorter but sweatier as they played right out of their amps, both digging into their stellar back catalog and previewing amazing songs off the new album that they threaten to release any day now. Even better, as old friend and GR contributor Vicki Berndt said, it started at six! Yes, I was able to take my Eloise, who was bummed about me going out without her the other nights. She was the happiest and hippest three-year-old on the planet, and I was able to hit the sack early and catch up on rest after going out the previous evenings…

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